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Sunday, 6 October 2019

Fearful of shadows - and phantoms : A Festival preview [work in progress] of La filla d'algú (Somebody’s Daughter*) (2019)

This is a Festival preview of La filla d'algú (2019) (for Cambridge Film Festival 2019)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

25 September

This is a Festival preview (work in progress) of La filla d'algú (Somebody’s Daughter*) (2019) (for Cambridge Film Festival 2019)

Aina Clotet as Eli, who is expected as a Festival guest of Ramon Lamarca, programmer of Camera Catalonia, for a Q&A following the screening on Tuesday 22 October (please see below)
- and also that of
7 Raons de Fugir (de la societat) (2019) on the same night

The #CamFF synopsis, duration and other details for the film can be found here, and it screens on Friday 18 October [in Screen 1 at APH (Festival Central)] at 12.00 p.m.,
and again on Tuesday 22 October [in Screen 3 at APH (Festival Central)] at 6.00 p.m.

Principal themes (alphabetical order) :

* Anxiety
* Confusion
* Danger
* Family
* Suspicion

Now we're busy making all our busy plans
On foundations built to last
But nothing fades as fast as the future

From 'More than This' ~ Peter Gabriel (on the album Up (2002), Real World Records)

A recent screening at Festival Central (APH) of the 4K restoration of Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949), complete with pre-show and a guide by zither to the film’s thematic material, as introduced by Matthew Sweet (who also hosted a Q&A), reminded one of two things :

Both how quickly Holly Martins is met with the fact that Harry Lime, the man whom he flew to Austria to meet, is no longer around to greet him**, and how, almost from the start (when faced by what he cannot grasp or understand), Martins cannot but pick away at what he has been told, collating and questioning all its inconsistencies. Several times called Harry (instead of Holly), Martins (Joseph Cotten), and this story about him, are one whose genesis in Vienna, in voice-over, is given by a narrator who then 'vanishes' – leaving us and Martins alike with the enigma of working out who Lime (Orson Welles***) is - and who, in relation to Lime, that then makes Martins.

Arguably, Martins might have been happier, if he had not had a desire that impelled him to keep uncovering things : in common with Eli in La filla d'algú (Someone’s Daughter) (2019) – wonderfully played by Aina Clotet in a performance that deserved a win at Málaga Spanish Film Festival 2019 [Zonacine - Best Actress (Mejor Actriz)] – he loses the everyday certainties of person and place on which, in such experiences, we find that we have put so much reliance (and have needed to do so).

Though not wishing to press these incidental parallels too far, the disembodied opening voice that tells us about the work with and for Lime, which (as well as wanting to renew their friendship) brought Martins to Vienna, yet it is a phone-call over the opening credits for La filla that suggests to us various things : high-profile legal practice, involving the pressures of travel to another city (and having to perform court-work there), but with the expectation of returning to familiar surroundings, and, with her interlocutor, of a plan of action for important proceedings back in Barcelona.

From the point when Eli is, again, in Barcelona, we seem no more to stray from her side than we do from that of Martins, but, in Eli's case, all that is familiar and expected seems to have strayed into some other domain, and the certainties seem to start to desert her...


End-notes :

* So the title La filla d'algú has been rendered, but perhaps Someone’s Daughter would have had more richly resonant connotations… ?

** Hammered home by our next being in the all-important cemetery – though the word Friedhof captures the atmosphere so much more, despite the edgy glances of those whom we will meet fully later, and (starting with when one asks Wer ist das ?) with no quarter given to non-speakers of German.

*** As for Welles, he was the man who was often enough not in Vienna when he was needed for the shoot (so stand-ins had to be used), and who, in contradiction to the opening credits, claimed that he, and not Reed, had directed it.

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

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